The decision tree underlying current practice guidelines for post polypectomy surveillance relies on risk stratification based on predictive attributes gleaned from adenomas removed on screening colonoscopy examination. Our primary aim was to estimate the magnitude of association between baseline adenoma attributes and the risk of adenoma recurrence and invasive colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRC). Our secondary aims were to estimate the adenoma detection rate (ADR) of surveillance compared with screening colonoscopies and describe time trends in preventive colonoscopy utilization.
We used prospective analyses of retrospectively collected clinical data from electronic health records. A cohort of primary care patients eligible for colorectal cancer screening was assembled encompassing 110,452 subjects, of which 3,300 had adenomas removed on screening examination. Of those patients who had a follow-up surveillance colonoscopy (defined as a patient with a documented adenoma on prior colonoscopy) recorded during the study period, 537 had a recurrent adenoma.
Of those recurrent adenomas, 354 had a high-risk attributes. High-risk attributes were described at >3 adenomas, at least one adenoma >10 mm in size, high-grade dysplasia, or villous features. The risk of developing invasive CRC among post polypectomy patients was significantly higher if the baseline adenomas displayed any of the following attributes: more numerous than 3 (4.3-fold higher risk, 95% confidence interval (CI) low, high 1.4, 12.9), larger than 10 mm in size (5.2-fold higher risk, 95% CI low, high 1.8, 15.1), high-grade dysplasia (13.2-fold risk, 95% CI low, high 2.8, 62.1), or villous features (7.4-fold higher risk, 95% CI low, high 2.5, 21.5). These attributes combined added a net value of 22.8% to the probability of correctly predicting CRC. There was a threefold increase in surveillance utilization relative to screening from 2005 to 2011. The ADR of surveillance (34.1%) was 1.5-fold higher than that of screening (23.1%).
These results emphasize the need to mitigate excessive risk by performing timely surveillance colonoscopies in patients with baseline adenomas displaying high-risk attributes as recommended in practice guidelines.